Caution – this blog post contains statements that might be construed as male-bashing!
Last night I attended one of BikeArlington’s new Two Wheel Tuesdays events in my local public library. It was only the second TWT ever, and given the low turnout last week, I was surprised to see so many people; I counted close to twenty. I arrived late since I went directly from the gym, but Angela, the Revolution Cycles bike shop outreach manager, was demonstrating how to change a flat tire. I’ve watched many a flat tire get changed, and done one myself under “safe” circumstances (I.e. not stranded on the side of a road or trail somewhere), so I’m always happy to watch again. No one took Angela up on her offer of doing it themselves.
But this is where the male bashing comes in – there were three men who clearly bike a lot who felt they needed to correct Angela every time she said something! Then they ended up debating each other on what advice was being offered, basically trying to out-smart the others. Really? Explain to me why you decide to attend a training event, and then point out how the trainer is wrong! And it was confusing to the rest of the people who didn’t know any different, and might prevent new riders from wanting to ride, because they are unclear about what to do when faced with a flat. Guys, we don’t care that you have been riding for decades, or that your bike is years old with dry rot in the tires that you clearly aren’t smart enough to replace! Keep it to yourself!
After the event, I ended up part of a small group of women there who were all comparing stories about their bicycling experiences. Because Angela had been discussing the differences between men’s and women’s bikes, we were comparing out shopping experiences (see my earlier blog). They admired my pannier as well. But this basically proved to me why it is important to get women’s cycling groups organized – women feel safer in a group of other women, rather than a mixed group.
I hope that the women last night return for other lectures at Westover Library, and I hope the ones who haven’t tried biking are inspired to try. And I really hope that those know-it-all men keep quiet!